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Fight against Newcastle disease

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Fight against Newcastle disease

The European Union has adopted measures aimed at preventing the spread of Newcastle disease. The Community measures will be implemented by Member States as soon as the presence of this disease is suspected. They shall remain in force until any suspicion has lifted or the disease has been eradicated.


Council Directive 92/66/EEC of 14 July 1992 introducing Community measures for the control of Newcastle disease [See amending acts].


This Directive lays down measures for tackling Newcastle disease as soon as its presence is detected in poultry. Similar measures are applied to racing pigeons and other birds kept in captivity.

Once a case of Newcastle disease is suspected, the official veterinarian shall inform the competent authority and implement the measures imposed by them. These measures provide for:

  • the placing of all holdings with suspected outbreaks under surveillance;
  • a record of all categories of poultry kept on the holdings to be made;
  • the isolation of all animals in their living quarters;
  • the banning of transporting poultry;
  • the competent authority to limit the movement of people, vehicles, other animals and materials connected with the poultry, which are liable to be contaminated;
  • the requirement that eggs remain within the holding;
  • the installation of appropriate means of disinfection inside the holding;
  • carrying out an epizootiological inquiry.

The preventative measures shall be withdrawn by the veterinarian once the suspicion of Newcastle disease has been officially ruled out.

Once the presence of Newcastle disease has been officially confirmed, the competent authority shall order a series of measures, including:

  • all poultry on the holding shall be killed;
  • all substances and waste liable to be contaminated shall be destroyed or treated appropriately;
  • meat from poultry from the holding, slaughtered during the presumed incubation period of disease shall be destroyed;
  • eggs laid during the presumed incubation period shall be destroyed;
  • buildings used for housing poultry shall be cleaned and disinfected;
  • no poultry shall be reintroduced to the holding until at least 21 days after completion of cleaning and disinfecting operations;
  • carrying out an epizootiological inquiry.

Some flocks of poultry do not have to be destroyed if the official veterinarian confirms that the animals are healthy and have been completely separated from infected flocks.

After the confirmation of Newcastle disease, the competent authority shall establish a protection zone (based on a minimum radius of three kilometres around the infected holding) and a surveillance zone (based on a minimum radius of 10 kilometres around the infected holding), in which specific measures apply. These measures include, amongst others, the identification of all holdings keeping poultry, periodic visits, clinical examinations and isolating animals. The measures applied in the protection zone shall be withdrawn no less than twenty one days after the cleaning and disinfecting of the holding. In the surveillance zone the measures shall be maintained for thirty days after the cleaning and disinfecting operations.

Each Member State shall designate a national laboratory responsible for coordinating the standards and methods of diagnosis, the use of reagents and the testing of vaccines for Newcastle disease. Each Member State shall then communicate the details of their laboratory to the other Member States and the public. The national laboratories shall work in cooperation with the Community reference laboratory, located in Weybridge (United Kingdom).

Vaccination against Newcastle disease can be carried out in accordance with procedures laid down by Member States. Member States may also provide a vaccination programme for racing pigeons. If the presence of the disease is confirmed, emergency vaccination may also be performed in the zones and for periods as defined by the competent authority.

Each Member State shall draw up a contingency plan which shall determine how Newcastle disease will be managed nationally. The plans shall comply with the series of criteria detailed in this Directive. For example, they must include the establishment of a crisis centre, local disease control centres and detailed information on the staff responsible for the emergency measures.

Commission experts may undertake checks on national establishments.

In order to eradicate Newcastle disease, Member States shall benefit from Community financial assistance according to the conditions defined in Decision 90/424/EEC.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health shall assist the Commission in managing Newcastle disease. They will be involved in designing the checks carried out by the Commission’s experts, amongst other tasks.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 92/66/EEC



OJ L 260 of 5.9.1992

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 806/2003



OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

Directive 2008/73/EC



OJ L 219 of 14.8.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 92/66/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Decision 2007/24/CE of 22 December 2006 approving contingency plans for the control of avian influenza and Newcastle disease [Official Journal L 8 of 13.1.2007].

Last updated: 26.11.2008